Really, for being a film about a virginity pact and with that visual pun of the rooster in the ads, Blockers is so much better than it deserves to be. Despite the fact that it made me laugh throughout, it is also a broad comedy with fantastically well-drawn characters with believable relationships, evident and honest motivations, and a great heart. Credit that to director Kay Cannon (writer-producer of 30 Rock, and the Pitch Perfect movies) who maintains a delicate balance between dick jokes and complex familial dynamics.

Leslie Mann is single-mom Lisa to Kathryn Newton’s Julie. Julie and Lisa are super close, and Julie is worried how her mom will handle her pending out-of-state college plans. But more immediately Julie is focused on losing her v-card to her boyfriend Austin (The Good Wife’s Graham Phillips). Julie forms a pact with her BFF’s Kayla (an outstanding Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (wonderfully sad-eyed Gideon Adlon, daughter of renaissance woman Pamela) to lose their collective virginities on prom night. Lisa discovers their plan and teams up with Sam’s single-dad Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) and Kayla’s jocktastic father Mitchell (John Cena) to put a stop to their shenanigans.

What follows is a fairly straightforward gross-out raunch-com. The jokes are fast and furious, the plot is ridiculous beyond believability, but the chemistry between all of the characters and the believable motivations at the heart of all the parent-child relationships do a great job of grounding the entire film.

Mann is always superb, and Barinholtz is usually a strong support, so no surprise at how well they are, but Cena is definitely a standout, leaning into his obvious jock persona but infusing Mitchell with a lot empathy and an inherent sadness at his daughter’s onset of adulthood. The daughters have a surprising amount of agency, and the dynamics around how everything shakes out is handled deftly, even with some of the more unbelievable scenarios.

While everything is grounded quite nicely, and as I said, I laughed throughout, it’s a still a relatively easy-going movie that I’m sure will fade from my memory any day now. But even if it will ultimately be a forgettable comedy flick, it still deserves credit for a better-than-expected execution of a relatively straightforward comedy.

My Grade – B


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